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How 5G Networking Will Unleash the Full Potential of IoT

Murali Venkatesh
Director of Emerging Technologies
By Murali Venkatesh, Emerging Technology Advisor for North America


With the coming availability of ubiquitous, high-speed mobile connectivity, companies need a flexible IoT platform to transition and compete successfully. The arrival of smart thermostats, appliances, sporting goods, and a myriad of other connected products, we are clearly at the dawn of the Internet of Things (IoT). But even as concepts are becoming realities every day, IoT remains hindered by a lack of ubiquitous high-speed connectivity. IoT relies on big data to maximize its potential, and current networking technologies simply can’t achieve the speed or volume requirements. Some of this computing and storage can be handled with technologies such as edge and fog computing, while Wi-Fi can connect devices over short distances. These technologies have obvious limitations in terms of computing power and range.

That will all change with the long-awaited arrival of 5G mobile networking. The dramatic improvements in speed, capacity, and security that 5G represents over current mobile technology are predicted to unleash IoT’s full potential, resulting in enhanced smart applications, faster virtual and augmented reality, and tactile internet. The question for just about every industry—manufacturing, financial services, healthcare, government, transportation, and more—is how to stake a claim in this burgeoning new territory. The challenge will be understanding where the true opportunities lie.


Costs Are Decreasing . . .

The key to capitalizing successfully on 5G technology lies in the cloud, where the massive amounts of data from IoT and big data can be stored, processed, and fed back to users and their devices.

The defining properties of big data are commonly referred to as the three V’s: volume, variety and velocity.

  • Volume refers to the amount of data.
  • Variety refers to the number of types of data.
  • Velocity refers to the speed of data processing.

The challenges of big data management result from the expansion of all three properties at once. What’s more, the cost of computing power and storage is decreasing steadily even as capacity continues to grow. One calculation indicates that cloud computing pricing is falling by more than 50% annually. What’s missing, however, is the last mile of connectivity to link individual devices to this source of computing power and data storage.  That cost to connect the last mile has remained stubbornly high compared to the dramatic decrease in cost of compute and storage at the edge.  5G will change this, for the better.


. . . Even as Volume, Velocity, and Variety Increase

A 5G network can decrease the cost of this last mile connectivity drastically, while increasing throughput at the same time. The new technology meets big data’s three V’s with three V’s of its own: volume (in the form of increased bandwidth), velocity (with higher speeds), and variety (which is a product of 5G’s enhanced security capabilities to ensure data integrity).

As for variety, that is addressed by the first two: higher speed and greater bandwidth accommodate an increasing variety of data types. Here’s a closer look at each:

  • Velocity: The arrival of 5G mobile technology promises download speeds of up to 10 Gbps—1000x greater than 4G’s upper limit of 100 Mbps. Upload speeds, which are a fraction of download speeds with current technology, could, theoretically, equal uploads with 5G, reducing latency to nearly imperceptible levels. Many current technologies rely on periodic connections (for example, hourly or 15-minute intervals in the case of smart meters) that preclude real-time data analysis. A delivery truck, for example, might not receive re-routing instructions in time to avoid a traffic jam or address a delivery change request. With 5G connectivity, these interactions could occur in real time.


  • Volume: While speed has captured most headlines about 5G, capacity increases are no less dramatic. Compared to 4G, 5G networks will be capable of supporting approximately 1000x more devices in the same spectrum. As the number of smart products proliferate, this capacity expansion will be critical. Greater capacity also means richer communication. Instead of texts and emails, machines can share live HD videos, which could prove life-saving for emergency services or repair personnel, for example.


  • Variety: Finally, 5G offers greater data integrity by allowing administrators to define security at the device, group, or organization level or higher.


Getting Off the IoT Sidelines

The question for most companies is how and when to jump deeper into the IoT game, whether transitioning from current IoT connectivity options, such as Wi-Fi or even wired networks, or holding off to start from scratch with 5G.

Making the switch can add value, but it will also require investment, so the answer often depends on who is asking. A CTO will likely want to take advantage of the opportunities that 5G represents, whereas a CFO or COO might need to reflect on exactly what use cases can provide the greatest return. A transportation company, for example, may want to incorporate hyper-local weather forecasting into real-time routing. This might not be technically feasible yet, so the choice will be to examine interim technologies or jump headlong into 5G.

Oracle Internet of Things (IoT) Cloud Service is a managed platform-as-a-service (PaaS), cloud-based offering that helps companies make critical business decisions and strategies by allowing them to connect devices to the cloud, analyze data from those devices in real time, and integrate the data with enterprise applications, web services, or with other Oracle Cloud Services, such as Oracle Business Intelligence Cloud Service. By operating off a managed PaaS, companies can deploy Oracle’s IoT applications, third-party applications, or their own to any network, making IoT solutions future-proof as technologies such as 5G become widely available.

To learn more about how Oracle can support your IoT strategy, visit oracle.com/solutions/internet-of-things/.

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